Bacta CEO John White, has welcomed the recent initiative undertaken by the Gambling Commission, which saw its Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, spend a day working at Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, helping to refill change machines, shadow workers on the shop floor and give out redemption prizes in the shop. Mr McArthur was launching a new regulator programme aimed at giving its staff a greater insight into the day-to-day workings of operators in the broadly based amusements and low stake gaming sector.

Expanding on the progressive initiative, John White, said: “We were delighted when Neil accepted our invitation to roll up his sleeves and spend time in a Bacta member’s venue. It’s clear from his experience that the visit gave him a first-hand insight into the lengths our members go to provide a safe and entertaining experience to the generations of families that regularly visit piers and family entertainment centres throughout the UK. I strongly believe that a better understanding of the sector will lead to better regulation and it’s my hope that even more Commission officials will take the opportunity to see what running an amusement business entails and the value our customers derive from what we do. My thanks go to Michelle Michael and the staff on the Grand Pier at Weston for hosting Neil.’’

Reflecting on his working day at the seaside, Neil McArthur commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the opportunity to accompany staff as they went about their work. “I was struck by just how much effort was put into looking after customers fairly, and how staff would go the extra mile to make sure people were having a good time. It was really obvious that the people there were having fun – a real reminder that, whilst we must keep working to make gambling fairer and safer, for most people it is just a way of spending their leisure time. This initiative is a chance for colleagues to gain different insights into all sectors of the gambling industry and use that knowledge to inform the work we do.”

“The challenge we all face is how to balance consumer enjoyment against the risks of harm that gambling can present. That is why it’s essential to keep assessing the effectiveness of protections that are in place for children and vulnerable consumers and we will continue to work constructively with all gambling operators to ensure that industry collaborate and innovate to make gambling fairer and safer.”

Michelle Michael, Director and Company Secretary at Grand Pier Limited, said: “When we were asked to host the Gambling Commission we immediately welcomed the idea. To have the opportunity to show the behind the scenes workings of our operation in our busiest time of the year to the Chief Executive was unprecedented and we believe insightful into the effort that goes into any busy Family Entertainment Centre environment.”

Given the success of the visit the Commission intends to develop this initiative to give more colleagues who don’t work in specialist areas of the business the opportunity to get a different perspective on the challenges faced and to build even deeper levels of understanding between the Commission and those it regulates.